As Leeds’ next hotspot warms up, we look at the reasons why and reveal how to find up-and-coming areas. Sharon Dale reports.
The transformation of Leeds into a major financial centre, retail paradise and sought-after place to live has provided a huge boost to the housing market.
The city is a magnet for both buyers and property investors, many of whom are trying to predict the next hotspot.
First-time buyers and second-steppers are looking for value for money and good amenities after being priced out of desirable locations such as Roundhay, Chapel Allerton and the city centre. Landlords are keen to buy in areas that offer a good rental yield and opportunity for capital growth.
Predicting the next property hotspot requires skill and expertise. During the last boom, Armley and Beeston were cautiously tipped to take off but the financial crash ensured they didn’t and there are still no strong signs of gentrification.
Estate agent Mark Manning, MD of Manning Stainton, believes that those in search of potential should switch their attention to Crossgates on the other side of the city. He says: “I get asked about up-and-coming areas all the time and right now I’d say Crossgates is a place that’s on the up and I think we’ll see prices there rise substantially over the coming years.”
Situated in East Leeds, Crossgates has a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced houses, along with new apartments and older-style flats, so there’s plenty of choice when it comes to property type.
“One of the key reasons why I think it’s the area to watch is the improvement happening to the infrastructure in and around the suburb, with major works about to start,” says Mark.
The suburb already has a train station, which provides direct access to both Leeds and York and the ring road is about to be re-routed to create the East Leeds Orbital Road. This will provide easy and direct access to the M1 via Thorpe Park.
“This is one of the biggest infrastructure schemes Leeds has seen for several decades and it is one that will massively improve transport links to and from Crossgates and the surrounding areas. This is all happening to support the increased number of people set to move into the area thanks to the plans to build around 5,000 new homes in and close to the suburb,” says Mark.
The fact that many developers have targeted the area is another sure sign that it is set for gentrification. Ben Bailey, Strata and Bellway are all building there at the moment. Manning Stainton add that along with the promise of better transport links, the central shopping area in Crossgates is also improving.
“All successful suburbs need a good centre and the changes happening to some of the establishments in and around the Crossgates Shopping Centre are a key sign that the area is regenerating,” says Mark. He points to a Costa, which is often a sign of a thriving area. There’s also a butcher, a bakery and cafes, along with an M&S food hall. “Independent traders are moving in too, which is a clear indicator that an area is about to explode in popularity,” says Mark. “As more regeneration takes place, I think we’ll see even more new places popping up to meet the demands and needs of people moving into the new homes being built.”
Nearby Thorpe Park business park is also planning to expand over the next decade with the creation of new offices, new homes, a large retail park and a new train station, which will provide another boost to Crossgates.
“All of these things point to a suburb that’s about to explode in popularity, making it a great place to buy a home, either to live in or as an investment,” says Mark.
How to identify the next hotspot…
*Property values in up-and-coming areas usually rise faster than average so keep an eye on places that are creeping up in price.
*Artists, makers and musicians make a beeline for attractive but affordable places to live and in doing so they give the area a cool vibe. Hackney in London became fashionable for this reason and the same thing happened in Hebden Bridge.
*If housing developers are actively buying up land and seeking planning permission to build in an area, then you can bet it has potential.
*Middle and upmarket food retailers, such as Booths, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S Food, employ specialists to assess an area’s geography and social make-up to check potential for gentrification. They are rarely wrong so if they plan to open a branch in a secondary location, chances are it is warming up.
*When good quality coffee shops, bars and restaurants begin to buy into an area, it is almost certainly becoming more affluent and sought-after. Places that have good rail and road links, or are about to get them, are ripe for gentrification, especially if they have some attractive architecture and green spaces
*Falling crime rates and improving schools are key indicators of an area on the up.